October 6th, 2010
09:07 PM ET

Atlanta Police dispute 'most dangerous neighborhoods' list

Four parts of Atlanta, Georgia, made a list of the country's most dangerous neighborhoods.

A report that placed four neighborhoods in Atlanta, Georgia, among the 25 most dangerous in the United States has not gone unnoticed by the Atlanta Police Department.

On Thursday, the department cast doubt on the methodology behind the "Top 25 most dangerous neighborhoods," and cautioned the public against taking the report at face value.

"We will not dispute that there are neighborhoods in Atlanta that experience more crime than others, for a variety of factors," the APD said in a statement. "We take fighting crime seriously, and do not believe it can be reduced to catchy headlines about 'dangerous neighborhoods' based on potentially flawed methodology. It’s a disservice to the community we work hard to serve," the department said in a statement Wednesday.

Atlanta's standings in positions 5, 7, 17 and 22 - which includes one neighborhood within walking distance of CNN's world headquarters - put it on the list more than any other city.

Las Vegas, Nevada, made three appearances; Memphis, Tennessee, Cleveland, Ohio and Chicago, Illinois all appeared twice, with the neighborhood contained within Chicago's 60612 zip code topping the list.

The data behind the report was compiled by NeighborhoodScout, a real estate consulting company that specializes in location-based analysis and risk assessment, prompting the APD's observation that the findings were not "sanctioned by an academic institution or think-tank" but rather, "a for-profit entity that sells real estate information."

The APD, which did not assist in the report, said it was conducting its own examination to assess the report's accuracy and veracity.

In an interview with CNN on Tuesday, the company's director and founder, Andrew Schiller, said the findings were based on data collected from 17,000 law enforcement agencies, including city police, county sheriffs, university and campus patrols and transit police.

He said the rankings were based on rates of violent crime per 1,000 people, based on the FBI's Uniform Crime Reports definition of violent crime, which includes murder and non-negligent manslaughter, forcible rape, armed robbery, and aggravated assault.

To define the neighborhood limits used in the report, Schiller said NeighborhoodScout relied on census tracts used by the U.S. Census Bureau.

"Many of these 'neighborhoods' include daytime populations such as the ones described above," the department said.

The APD pointed out other "potential flaws" in the methodology that could "skew" the numbers, among them:

- An undercounting of the population in census tracts analyzed.

- Inclusion in the analysis of major venues that host hundreds of thousands of conventioneers, tourists, workers, travelers and spectators, such as Turner Field, MARTA stations, the Georgia Dome and World Congress Center.

- Use of “predicted” crimes based on past trends.

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Filed under: Crime • U.S.
soundoff (69 Responses)
  1. Jeff

    I grew up north of Atlanta back in the 80's and never felt unsafe when spending time in downtown. But nowadays, I for sure would not be caught in any downtown areas of Atlanta after dark – sadly, including Buckhead now.

    October 7, 2010 at 10:59 am | Report abuse |
  2. phil

    News like this divides US. The simple truth is that the USA statistically leads the world in violence. Our number one choice in entertainment is violence. A people cannot take in all of that violence and then argue over what particular community is the guiltiest of that ingested violence being puked out on the streets without sounding stupid. Like parents who use violent video games to babysit their kids, and are then "shocked" when their children are involved in violence in school.

    October 7, 2010 at 11:01 am | Report abuse |
  3. Matt

    Here is the reality, like any city huge or not so huge, there are places you go and don't go. I really believe that if you play it safe at all times you'll be fine. Central Park in NYC is awesome, in the day. I won't walk it at night... Atlanta is an awesome city, but like any city, there are places you don't walk, or at times drive in. Just be careful, really very simple. These are violent times we live in, no matter where you are in the world.

    October 7, 2010 at 11:03 am | Report abuse |
  4. AllTymeMuzik

    Wait a minute.... I was scrolling thru the top 25 and at 15 is my neighborhood in fort worth, tx? My street is on that map in the 76111 area code! It might be hood and old but I've been walking around that whole area for years and never got robbed, mugged or nothing. As a matter of fact, my family has lived there for a hundred years! Other than a burglary at my grandmother's house in the early 90s none of us have never been shot, stabbed or robbed at gunpoint. The only problems are the occasional crackhouse and bums fighting in front of the two homeless shelters on lancaster rd. Don't believe the list, its complete BS!!

    October 7, 2010 at 11:06 am | Report abuse |
  5. tomcat

    Phil you there?

    October 7, 2010 at 11:31 am | Report abuse |
  6. tomcat

    go to blog on Green Beret. I have been busy doing homework

    October 7, 2010 at 11:38 am | Report abuse |
  7. jess

    I can't believe how racist everyone sounds here... It seems like the more we progress in to the future the more we have to understand what makes thing violent insteand of being humans and trying to help one another...and stop judging... I doubt we will ever be a smart enough species to do this

    October 7, 2010 at 11:45 am | Report abuse |
    • Richard

      Pulling the race card doesn't cover the truth. The post is true. Every city I lived in was the same way as well.

      October 7, 2010 at 12:32 pm | Report abuse |
  8. CitizenUSA

    Every city I ever lived in the worst part of town with the highest crime was the black neiborhoods......go figure!

    October 7, 2010 at 12:16 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Richard

    What neighborhood within walking distance of CNN HQ? Is it the one on the other side of the bridge?

    October 7, 2010 at 12:31 pm | Report abuse |
    • dan

      that's what i was wondering. i only visit Philips Arena and Centennial Park from time to time, and I've never seen a neighborhood within walking distance from there. that area seemed really safe to me.

      October 7, 2010 at 2:34 pm | Report abuse |
    • stats

      That's the problem with the way the data are analyzed. They are counting incidents per resident listed on the census tract. More than one of the Atlanta neighborhoods on the list are in areas of high tourism or activity (e.g., CNN Center, Phipps, COP, Turner Field), but relatively low residential population. So any incident reported there "counts" more when considered "per resident"

      October 13, 2010 at 11:49 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Home imprvmnt Sales person

    As far as home burglaries I agree with the zip codes in that list. I hve been in ATL for 15yrs. I moved from Little Rock,AR & I agree with phil I feel safer walking in college park at night than I do in certain parts of LR. I hve lived in almost every area of ATL since I have been here. I am in drs/wndws sales. I work for a big box home imprvmnt retailer that's is not far from those zip codes/neighborhoods. We do get a lot of people from those zips that have had breakins. Assaults no. Haven't dealt with 1 customer in the last 2years that was assaulted during a home invasion. Oh the breakins were not that bad until the economy went to hell to years ago.

    October 7, 2010 at 12:35 pm | Report abuse |
  11. jtt

    no not in Atlanta!!! come on man the cops let the thugs run wild in this country and atlanta is no exception, the authorities would rather arrest kids for pot then get invovled in the real fight!

    October 7, 2010 at 2:20 pm | Report abuse |
  12. donnie

    People need to be more involved with raising their kids and stop turning their backs

    October 7, 2010 at 6:25 pm | Report abuse |
  13. anon

    I'm surprised Atlanta isn't listed on the list more than four times, and I'm not surprised the good-for-nothing APD thugs are disputing this report. They love to combat anything that makes them look bad, just so long as it isn't actual crime.

    October 7, 2010 at 7:44 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Brandi

    Look at the ratio of APD officers vs people in the city. That may shed some light on why the crime is bad too.

    October 7, 2010 at 8:16 pm | Report abuse |
  15. phil

    The list is bogus. All inner-cities are riddled with crime and are not safe. The difference between any of them is just a few percentage points.

    October 7, 2010 at 10:12 pm | Report abuse |
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